December 1998

Dear Friends and Family,

Season's greetings from the barren wasteland of central Illinois. We hope that this letter finds you doing well and that you are enjoying the holiday season.

We are both happy and healthy, and we have spent most of the year involved in our newest favorite activity: playing with our kitties. Anne and Emma are rowdy teenagers now (almost 16 months old), and have brought us indescribable joy and occasional broken things.

It kinda seems like we were homebodies this year because we didn't have a big vacation. But we did go skiing twice, in OR (joined by Evelyn and Rick) and WI. Tom also went canoeing in MO and had work trips to CO and FL, and visited his dad in GA. We had a few visitors this year, but not as many as we'd like. Dennis stayed for a day or two before the OR ski trip, and Marlene came for a few days in the fall. But the visitors from farthest away were locals: Dave and Sharon took a break from their travels to spend a couple of weeks in the US while their motorcycles traveled by slow boat from Argentina to Spain.

Some of you have never been to IL. The invitation's still open.

On the work front, Lisa moved up to full-time at the Champaign Public Library. Tom still works at NCSA on the Symera project (formerly called Symbio - it's a long, lawyer-infested story). In his side job as one of the MATHmaniaCS, he helped Lenny and Cinda teach discrete mathematics and computer science to assorted teachers and youngsters. His other side job, W3TG, remains existent but idle. As usual, he spent some sleep-deprived months teaching a CS class at Parkland College in the spring.

Tom had some minor foot surgery this fall that put him on crutches for a while. (He recommends against them as a regular mode of transportation.) His anesthesia for the surgery was "local with IV sedation". According to a brochure they gave us, this type of anesthesia puts one "in a state of tranquility which you may or may not remember". We were really amused by this phrase, and told it to a number of people on the day before surgery. As it turned out, he did not remember anything about the surgery. The nurses in the recovery room, however, told us he was talking during it. (Friends have told us that this is common.) The nurses said that during the operation Tom kept asking if he was in a state of tranquility.

In other news, we continued working on our house, although the project pace has slowed a bit. We have only done minor things this year such as painting the garage door, remodeling the guest bedroom, and planting a bunch of new perennials around the yard.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

Tom Magliery